The latest edition of the Sunderland weekly round-up takes a look at the latest news from Stadium of Light. News has emerged that the takeover of the club could be completed in the coming days, plus we look back at the two games played by the Black Cats, one which included Charlie Wyke’s fine form continuing as the striker hit four goals.
Sunderland Round-Up: Takeover Edges Closer and Charlie Wyke’s Fine Form Continues
EFL Set to Ratify Takeover
According to reports by the Sunderland Echo and The Athletic, the Football League are set to ratify a deal that would see billionaire Kyril Louis-Dreyfus take over as owner from Stewart Donald. Donald put the club up for sale over one year ago with the deal to sell to Louis-Dreyfus agreed in December.
However, the EFL wanted various assurances from Donald and fellow shareholder Juan Sartori that they would continue to help fund the club once the takeover is complete and the pair become minority shareholders. It now appears that the Football League are set to give the green light to the takeover in the coming days.
Disappointing Performance and Mistakes Prove Costly at Shrewsbury Town
Lee Johnson’s side travelled to Shrewsbury for a midweek League One fixture. Despite taking the lead, The Black Cats were the architects of their own downfall. A poor display by many of the team, along with goalkeeper Remi Matthews enduring an error-prone evening, which resulted in an unexpected defeat and the loss of their impressive undefeated away record. It was also a game which saw Jordan Willis’ season come to end through injury.
Sunderland took a first-half lead through Aiden O’Brien; however, that was the best it would get. Shrewsbury took advantage of Sunderland’s lacklustre display and Remi Matthews’ nervous performance when they equalised early in the second half. The Black Cats keeper misread a cross allowing the home side to score.
Following the home side taking the lead, another mistake from Matthews almost resulted in another goal but the linesman’s flag saved the keeper on this occasion. The game ended in a 2-1 defeat with prospective new owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus watching from the stands.
Jordan Willis is expected to be out for the rest of the season. The defender suffered a ruptured patella tendon early in the defeat at Shrewsbury. Willis had been suffering from an injured knee for some time but managed to keep playing. He will undergo surgery and is set to be out for a minimum of six months.
New signing Ross Stewart had been expected to be a part of the squad for Saturday’s game against Doncaster Rovers. The striker suffered a setback in the days leading up to the game when he slipped during a rehabilitation drill with the physio. It is believed he will be unavailable for around seven to ten days.
Charlie Wyke’s Fine Form Continues as Black Cats Smash Doncaster Rovers
Lee Johnson’s men returned to winning ways on Saturday as they dismantled in-form Doncaster Rovers at the Stadium of Light. Rovers, along with Sunderland, are chasing promotion to the Championship and had been in good form leading up to the game. However, the Yorkshire side were no match for the Black Cats, especially Aiden McGeady and the in-form Charlie Wyke.
Wyke became the first player to score four goals since Kevin Phillips in 1999 and has become the first to score 20 goals or more since Darren Bent in 2010. Wyke was unstoppable in front of goal with Rovers finding no answer to his finishing or McGeady’s assists. All of Wyke’s goals came via Aiden McGeady assists in what was Sunderland’s best display of the season.
Once again, Kyril Louis-Dreyfus was in attendance. If Sunderland can replicate this type of performance more often going forward, Louis-Dreyfus may have to fund Lee Johnson in the transfer market as a Championship club.
Aiden McGeady: From Pantomime Villain to Star Player
Aiden McGeady has been speaking following a display against Doncaster Rovers that would normally have earned him a man of the match award. His four assists and overall display was slightly overshadowed by four-goal hero Charlie Wyke. The winger, however, is just glad to be back playing following a difficult year.
McGeady said: “It’s funny how football changes, because a year ago I was the pantomime villain, and then, when I came back – you become a better player when you don’t play, don’t you? That’s the way football is sometimes and I went from the pantomime villain to almost like the hero when I came back. I’m just glad to be playing.
“I’ve got to give the manager a lot of credit as well because straight away he’s come in and said ‘you’re going to be a big player for me.’ He’s said that from day one and I have to give him a lot of thanks as well. Ultimately it’s not about me, the end goal is about the team getting up. It’s as simple as that.
“The manager has mentioned to me that he sees that I’ve got two or three years left in me at this level or higher. I was playing last season in the Championship for Charlton and I’m not saying I ripped it up. but I felt I could still play there myself.
“My hope is to just carry on playing for Sunderland as long as I can. When I signed that extension over a year ago I could have left, but I like it here. I could have left in the summer, I probably should have left in the summer, but I thought the way things were going it was best to stick around, if you know what I mean.”